The Flight of the Sky Cricket (The Relics of Errus #1)

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.

Title:

The Flight of the Sky Cricket (The Relics of Errus #1)

Author:

Gordon Greenhill

Publisher:

St. Asinus Publishing

Publication Date:

November 13, 2019

Format:

Paperback

Length:

304 pages

OVERVIEW

Eli, Anna and Rose have been through a rough patch. Their father hasn’t spoken about their mother since she passed, and then he decides to move them to a Victorian house that their mother inherited years ago. They’re not particularly impressed by the house… until one day they step through a window in the wine cellar and find themselves somewhere else. Getting home will require getting across a desert (in an experimental airship the inventor assumes them is functional), traveling with people who are less than convinced they come from another world, and trying to find a legendary “Well of the sea goddess Thea,” which may or may not even exist. You could say things have just gotten a great deal more interesting for them.

It’s not unusual to meet Christians (especially those involved in the American homeschool and private Christian school movements) who have been influenced by C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. More than a few of those Christians have tried to write fantasy in a Narnia-like style. Joan Campbell emulates the way Lewis alludes to Christian ideas without going into full-fledged allegory in her book Guardian of Ajalon. Jonathon Rodgers takes that not-quite-allegory idea even further in his book Bark of the Bog Owl with characters and events clearly based on the Biblical story of David. Ted Dekker uses the idea of traveling between universes and some Lewisesque themes (such as enjoying good things even if one looks silly) in his book Rise of the Mystics. While none of these aforementioned books are bad, they don’t quite achieve the level of wonder or craft that Lewis conveys in his books. Various less talented writers have also tried and failed to capture Lewis’ style.

Whilte it’s clear from the beginning that Greenhill is writing in a Lewisian vein, he does something cleverer than most Lewis imitators. He openly riffs on ideas from the first Narnia book (an old house with a stern housekeeper, a portal to another world) but he uses a writing style and characters which are distinctly his own. There’s a cheeky sense of humor throughout the book which Lewis would probably have enjoyed but never wrote in. At times Greenhill even uses farcical humor which is more reminiscent of G.K. Chesterton’s fiction (such as The Man Who Was Thursday and The Ball and the Cross) than Lewis’ work. The fantasy world Greenhill describe is clearly a world in an alternate universe (like Narnia), but with a history that doesn’t sound anything like Narnia and bits of technology which owe more to steampunk sci-fi than to British fantasy.

As the plot moves on and various characters debate whether the thing they’re searching for even exists, one can see Greenhill playing on the supposed conflict between science and faith, and on the idea that myths and good stories give truth in a way that raw data cannot provide. Lewis described this view of mythology in several nonfiction pieces (particularly those collected in God in the Dock). Greenhill explores those ideas, but is careful to describe them in a way that fits his characters, never becoming too didactic. As a result, he’s able to play on Lewisian themes without becoming too obvious. The sense of humor which permeates the book helps in this area as well. Even when it feels like Greenhill is maybe wearing the Lewis influence on his sleeve, he’s so entertaining that one doesn’t mind.

All told, Greenhill manages to overcome the inherent difficulties with this kind of fantasy novel and produce something highly entertaining.

A very worthwhile fantasy novel for children or (in Lewis’ words) adults old enough to read children’s books again.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians looking for humorous fantasy novels, particularly ones which are reminiscent of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels for children.

Christian Impact

The author references a variety of theological ideas, particularly questions about science versus faith. Throughout, he argues that science and faith can be reconciled and that there is both a grand design to life and a designer of life.

Flight Of The SkyCricket: Relics of Errus, Volume 1


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